Essay on Lit Analysis A P

Submitted By Baseball010114
Words: 1417
Pages: 6

Brittany Cathey
English 102-12
Corey Porter
1381 Words
An Adolescent with an Attitude
Imagine being a nineteen year old working as a grocery store clerk in the middle of summer. Sounds pretty boring right? In John Updike’s story, A&P, the main character and narrator, Sammy, is doing so when three girls in their teens walk into an A&P grocery store dressed in swimming suit and naked feet. Sammy cannot take his eyes of the girls the whole time they are in the store. He finds them attractive and makes note of every aspect about how the act, look, talk, and dress. He also day dreams about their personality and motive behind their every action. The girls attract much attention not only from shoppers but from the workers as well. Sammy begins to focus more and more on the girls wondering why they are dressed in swimming suits when there is no beach near the store and wonder if the girls dress this way solely to attract attention. Sammy’s fellow workers talk about the girls and he becomes very judgmental about how they are acting. When the store manager, Lengel, tells the girls that swimming suits and bare feet are against store policy they become embarrassed. After the checkout, on impulse Sammy quits his job trying to gain the attention of the girls, but it is too late, the girls had already left without noticing him. In the short story, A&P, Updike implies that Sammy’s attitude towards others, his personality, and chauvinistic actions are causing him to appear childish. First and foremost, Updike characterizes Sammy as being judgmental against customers that come into the store and his colleagues. As Sammy puts a customer’s groceries into a bag he observes, “…she [gave] me a little snort in passing, if she’d been born at the right time they would have burned her over Salem…”(Updike 148). Sammy makes these characterizations in his mind based on how others act. He does not see the bigger picture but rather focuses in on the small details to create a biased opinion. He also refers to customers as, “…sheep pushing their carts down the aisle…”(Updike 149). Sammy suggest that because all of the shoppers are following each other and doing the same thing they are followers. He also conveys the idea that since they are followers they are incapable of being their own person. Again we see Sammy’s negative attitude when he talks about his colleagues opinions of the girls. He starts to convict his fellow workers of viewing the young girls that have entered the store as sex objects. His eyes follow the girls as they walk by the meat counter and he recalls that the meat cutter looks at the girls and is, “…sizing up their joints”(Updike 150). Sammy judges his fellow workers based on how they are looking and acting towards the girls. However, he cannot see that he has been doing the same thing not only to the girls, but to all the customers that he has come in contact with. He characterizes the girls and names them before ever talking to them. He identifies them based on their looks as well as their actions. Sammy observes, “She didn’t look around, not this queen, she just walked straight on slowly, on those long white prema-donna legs”(Updike 149). He does not personally know this girl but based on her actions he can tell that she is the leader and the other girls look up to her. He infers that she is stuck up because she will not take the time to stop and look at others but rather keeps her head straight. He refuses to take a deeper look at why she acts the way she does. Sammy makes naïve judgmental thoughts on individuals, ultimately overlooking the deeper meaning behind things. Throughout the short story Sammy’s personality is seen as rude and disrespectful. As Sammy watches the girls he asks the readers, “Do you really think it’s a mind in there or just a little buzz like a bee in a glass?”(Updike 149). Sammy’s insulting thoughts of the girls in general show the readers that he makes rude accusations based on appearance and sex of